Kensington LiquidAUX Deluxe iPod car kit review

4 out of 5
£49.99

For

Solidly built, holds player securely in place, handy remote control for the steering wheel, flexible design

Against

Reliant on a suitably accessible cigarette lighter, minor design issues

If you have a car stereo with an auxiliary input and an iPod you may well have hooked your player up in your car in the past by simply running a cable to it and leaving the device sliding around in a storage compartment somewhere. This is far from ideal from a safety point of view and it’s rather irritating to have to keeping digging around to change tracks on the move.

The Kensington LiquidAUX Deluxe for iPhones and iPods is designed to solve this problem, and comprises of a cigarette lighter charger attached to a flexible stand and an iPod mount. But there’s a little more to it than just a stable support.

The LiquidAUX supports the nano, classic, touch and iPhone, all of which can be securely mounted in the stand by pressing a switch to extend the jaws, sliding your player into the dock and then pressing them closed around the sides, where rubber pads help to make sure it is gripped tightly.

The dock construction itself is extremely solid and the main support swivels 90 degrees to the left or right to adjust for best position. A flexible rubber arm leads down to the cigarette lighter charger, from which a short 3.5mm cable protrudes to attach to your stereo. The whole thing can be locked in place by twisting a dial at the back so once you’ve got things how you want them, it should hold position very well.

In addition to keeping your iPod in place and charging it while you’re driving, the setup also includes a remote access controller that fits neatly into a rubber sleeve with a Velcro strap designed to attach to your steering wheel. This offers play and pause, track skip and repeat controls to allow you to control the player without taking your hands off the wheel, and the remote module itself is removable to fit the battery and if necessary, reverse its position for left-handers.

Audio quality is very good and as expected is indistinguishable from any other device wired directly to speakers through an auxiliary input. Where the LiquidAUX really scores points is in its ability to hold a player firmly in place and in the convenience on offer from the steering wheel control mount.

There are a couple of minor issues that are worth bearing in mind however. The first isn’t really a fault of the product, being that some cars tend to put cigarette lighters in the most awkward of positions and in some cases they are buried in an ash-tray somewhere a good inch or two back from the dash. The flexible rubber arm on the LiquidAUX does allow it to be twisted to fit and we doubt there would be many people who would find this physically impossible, but contorting it in this way does affect stability a little.

The 3.5mm connector attached would be far too short to reach most stereos as well, but thankfully Kensington has compensated for this by supplying an extension cable, which savvy users will want to run around the sides of the dash to keep things tidy. Bear in mind though that since this is a one-piece construction, the iPod’s position in the car will always be 6 inches or so above the cigarette lighter.

Finally, the release button for the clips that hold the iPod in place is directly behind the flexible support arm and we did notice that it’s fairly easy to inadvertently press this when pushing the dock backwards to adjust position.

Verdict

The vast majority of users will probably never encounter these issues though and should be pleased with the stability and convenience on offer with the LiquidAUX. While we’d recommend that you test one out in your car before you buy if possible, or at least consider how accessible the cigarette lighter is, we think this is a very tidy way to take your iPod on the road.

There are a few minor issues with the LiquidAUX that should be considered before making a purchase, but in truth this is one of the best ways we’ve seen yet to combine an iPod with a car stereo that has an auxiliary input, making it far easier and more enjoyable to listen to tunes on the move.